Have you ever been outside of your own church – at a worship conference or another worship gathering – and during a worship set…something happens? During a song…a moment just…happens? You know what I am talking about. It is as if the Holy Spirit has just reached into the room and is working within each breath. The words of the song aren’t even being sung. The main chord progression may not even be played. Something else may be said at the time…or, perhaps, nothing at all. The music may go from quiet…to driving…and then back into the anthematic chorus…or a number of other options. Perhaps someone speaks what is on their heart.
We call this a number of things. Spontaneous…I call it…a “Selah moment.”
Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with calling it a “spontaneous moment”, but I think the idea of spontaneous gets lost on people when you learn one of the main keys of what is needed for these moments. I’ll get into that in a moment. Spontaneous can sound a bit dangerous too. “Selah” is a bit different. Its beautiful…and called for OFTEN in the scriptures.
The word “Selah” would be best defined in a manner that says “stop…before you move on…ponder what just happened (what you read…what you heard, etc)”. We see it often in the Psalms. When you see it, stop…and ponder what you’ve read. What impact does it have on you? Don’t miss it!
Take this and apply it to our songs. If you’ve ever left a worship conference thinking “I’d LOVE to have an experience like that in our church!” …then find moments of Selah and do it!
Find Your Moments
The problem that most people have with the word “spontaneous” is that they feel it can’t or shouldn’t be scripted or planned. Not so. Creativity…spontaneous creativity can thrive in a planned environment. I’ve planned plenty of moments where I know that “after then second chorus…before the bridge build…we will go down soft…and vamp a (insert chord progression) yet I do not know what we will sing. The words will come.” That is spontaneous. HOW the words come…is from taking a “Selah” moment. We pause and ask God “what is happening in this moment? Reveal something to me as I ponder” and then let our outpouring become a reflection. We don’t move on from that moment until we are ready.
Rehearse These Moments
Its okay to rehearse these moments. There is nothing wrong or misleading. There is also nothing wrong with not doing what you’ve rehearsed. I actually suggest rehearsing with your team to get them used to the concept. This makes it easier for them and more natural should the time ever arise that you may need to break into a “Selah” moment.
I will readily admit, though. in over 25 years of leading teams, I can count on my hands the number of times I have ventured off into some moment that my team wasn’t already aware was going to happen. Letting your team know in advance what your intentions are and then letting words and builds happen naturally are part of some pretty cool God moments.
It Begins Offstage
I want to stress one thing…and it’s crucial. If you aren’t having Selah moments offstage – Im going to implore you to never try them on-stage. You absolutely must have devotional time with God on your own…when no one else is looking. Private worship time with God…when no one else is looking…and then stop and ponder those things before you move on. If you aren’t personally and privately doing those things with God and are asking God why He isn’t blessing what you are doing on stage in public…perhaps you may need to re-read this final paragraph and put a few new things into practice this week. The greatest outpourings that I have ever seen in public worship…have all increased when I first started by engaging God privately. I pray you’ll continue to do the same.